The Met Might Bring Back the Old Tosca

12/22/2009 3:03 PM |

The King of the Weenies

  • The King of the Weenies

The Metropolitan Opera’s General Manager and general wunderkind Peter Gelb bet his reputation on Luc Bondy this year, choosing the director’s production of Tosca to kick off the season—the first entirely planned by Gelb. On opening night, the audience met this bold risk with lusty booing, expressing its preference for the old Franco Zeffirelli production, in all its sweeping grandeur, which Gelb had retired. By accounts, Bondy’s was weird. And didn’t adhere to every Tosca tradition. In short, it was different. And the uptown opera-conservatives didn’t like it.

Well, the bluehairs have been heard. The Met is seriously considering bringing the Zeffirelli production back.

For now, Gelb is playing it coy. “There’s a strong possibility,” he told the Times, “but there’s a possibility it won’t come back.”

Gelb insists it has nothing to do with the booing: it’s because the Met has two lateral stage wagons, the new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle needs to use one, Bondy’s Tosca uses both, and Zeffirelli’s uses one.

But Zeffirelli, who has been very public about his disdain for Bondy(‘s production), told the Times that the logistical complications are “an excuse,” adding, “they just realized they’ve done something terrible.”

The production aired on PBS stations last week. In a review in The San Francisco Chronicle, Joshua Kosman admitted there were flaws, but considered them minor overall.

“New Yorkers,” he wrote, “are a big bunch of weenies.” Which makes Zeffirelli the Weenie King.